irish drama

This Week: Two World Premieres

Title graphics for The Gate Theatre's The Visiting Hour by Frank McGuinness, Boland: Journey of a Poet by Druid Theatre.

An exciting week for lovers of Irish theatre as we are digital tour partners for two world premieres.

Streaming live from the Gate Theatre is Donegal playwright Frank McGuinness’ lockdown inspired drama The Visiting Hour which stars Stephen Rea and Judith Roddy. It is directed by Inishowen native Catriona McLaughlin.

And streaming live from the Mick Lally Theatre in Galway is Boland: Journey of a Poet featuring the words of the late Eavan Boland and directed by theatre legend Garry Hynes.

Title graphic for the Gate Theatre's livestream of The Visiting Hour by Frank McGuinness. Pictured on left is Stephen Rea and to his right is Judith Roddy

This moving new play about an Irish father (Stephen Rea) and daughter (Judith Roddy) at visiting hour in a nursing home during the pandemic, will be performed and recorded in the Gate auditorium, and streamed to audiences on Thur 22 to Sat 24 April at 7.30pm.

BOOKING: For further info or to book please visit this page.

Title graphic for Druid Theatre's Boland: Journey of a Poet. Image features a painting of poet Eavan Boland as a child painted by her mother Frances Kellly.

Performed by Siobhán Cullen (Once Upon a Bridge, The Cherry Orchard, DruidShakespeare: Richard III), and live streamed from The Mick Lally Theatre in Galway, this world premiere production examines Boland’s relationships with family, poetry, memory, womanhood and national identity.  Inspired by Eavan Boland’s mother, the expressionist painter Frances Kelly, Boland: Journey of a Poet will feature the Irish artist Debbie Chapman live on stage who will create a piece of art in response to the production.

You can watch the play live from Galway on Thu 22 to Sat 24 Apr at 7.30 (additional 2pm matinee on Sat also) while it will also be available on demand from Tue 27 Apr – Sun 2 May.

BOOKING: For further info or to book please visit this page.

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An Grianán Supports: Radio Rosario

Little John Nee in Radio Rosario.Developed through FUEL – Druids Artist Residency Programme. Supported by The Mick Lally Theatre and An Grianan Theatre. Funded through an Arts Council Theatre Project Award.

Little John Nee’s Radio Rosario. Developed through FUEL – Druids Artist Residency Programme. Supported by The Mick Lally Theatre and An Grianan Theatre. Funded through an Arts Council Theatre Project Award.

Little John Nee is a performer we’ve enjoyed a long, creative relationship with. In 2010/ 2011 he was our theatre artist in residence leading many workshops, performing shows, working on the book of his three ‘Donegal’ plays The Derry Boat, The Mental and Rural Electric, and creating a daily haiku. Subsequent to this work he recorded an album of songs with the Highly Strung Caledonian Orchestra. 

We are delighted to be able to support the making of his latest play, Radio Rosario, which is part of the Dublin Theatre Festival this September. Set in Galway city, in the very near future in Radio Rosario John plays Valve Hegarty, a man who sings audio jingles to pay the rent; a drudgery that weighs heavily on him. He has a hankering for something of substance and is drawn to the beauty of 20th-century valve radios. A chance meeting in Clifden leads him to the site of the Marconi Station where a soundscape of ghostly broadcasts begins. Meanwhile, Rosario is… well, Rosario is Rosario.

In Radio Rosario, Little John Nee brings his musical storytelling on another step with long-time collaborator and creator Laura Sheeran, who we last saw on our stage with Little John in The Mental, she also performed in the foyer at the Crash Cabaret with her band Nanu Nanu,  and a multi-award winning team. We very much hope to present Radio Rosario at An Grianán Theatre at some point during 2018.

 

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James Joyce classic this March

Next Saturday 7 March 2015 we have the acclaimed stage adaptation of James Joyce’s iconic novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. It comes from director Jimmy Fay (The Seafarer) and was produced by The New Theatre Dublin and Richard Ryan. Featuring a cast of five, this production makes full use of the stream of consciousness narrative that Joyce is famous for.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man was James Joyce’s debut novel, published when he was 34. Strongly autobiographical, it recounts the religious and intellectual awakening of Stephen Dedalus, his fictional alter-ego.  First published in 1916, A Portrait of the Artist unleashed the incredible power of Joyce’s innovation and unconventionality upon the literary world in what was a remarkable reworking of the standard coming of age story.  It mirrors the author’s life up to age 20, when he left Dublin for Paris, challenging attitudes to family, homeland, and the Catholic Church.

The early years of Stephen Dedalus’s childhood is recounted at a vocabulary level of Stephen’s own as he grows, in a voice not his own but sensitive to his feelings. The audience experiences Stephen’s fears and bewilderment as he comes to terms with the world in a series of disjointed episodes. Growing up against a background of Irish nationalism, Stephen is intellectually gifted but ostracised at school. He goes through phases of religiosity while also seeking out more sensual pleasures, squandering a school prize on visiting prostitutes.

This production received public and critical acclaim during its 2014 Irish and Paris Tours.

‘imaginative and graceful…Jimmy Fay’s direction of this in-house production at the New Theatre in Dublin plays a great part in the success with its quirky and highly visual approach.’ Emer O’ Kelly, Sunday Independent

Here is some background information on this iconic novel:

Once upon a time and a very good time it was there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo …

His father told him that story: his father looked at him through a glass: he had a hairy face.

He was baby tuckoo. The moocow came down the road where Betty Byrne lived: she sold lemon platt.
—James Joyce, Opening to A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

The early youth of Stephen Dedalus is recounted at a vocabulary level of Stephen’s own as he grows, in a voice not his own but sensitive to his feelings. The audience experiences Stephen’s fears and bewilderment as he comes to terms with the world in a series of disjointed episodes.

Stephen attends school at Jesuit-run, Clongowes College where the apprehensive, intellectually gifted boy suffers the ridicule of his classmates while he learns the schoolboy codes of behaviour. While he cannot grasp their significance, at a Christmas dinner he is witness to the social, political, and religious tensions in Ireland involving Charles Stewart Parnell that drives bitter wedges between members of his family, leaving Stephen with doubts over which social institutions he can place his faith in.

Back at Clongowes, word spreads that a number of older boys have been caught “smugging”; discipline is tightened, and the Jesuits increase use of Corporal Punishment.

Stephen is strapped when one of his instructors believes he has broken his glasses to avoid studying; prodded by his classmates, Stephen works up the courage to complain to the rector Father Conmee, who assures him there will be no such recurrence, leaving Stephen with a sense of triumph.

Stephen’s father’s debts see the family return to Dublin and Stephen realises he will likely not return to Clongowes.

Thanks to a scholarship obtained for him by Father Conmee, Stephen is able to attend Belvedere College, where he excels academically and becomes a class leader.

Stephen squanders a large cash prize from school, and begins to see prostitutes, as a distance grows between him and his drunken father.

As Stephen abandons himself to sensual pleasures, his class is taken on a religious retreat, where the boys sit through sermons; Stephen pays especial attention to those on pride, guilt, punishment, and the ‘Last Judgement’.

He feels the words directed at himself, and overwhelmed comes to desire forgiveness.

Overjoyed at his return to the Church, he devotes himself to acts of repentance, though they soon devolve to mere acts of routine with his thoughts elsewhere than on spiritual matters.

His devotion comes to the attention of the Jesuits, and they encourage him to consider entering the Jesuit priesthood.

Stephen takes time to consider, during which he has a crisis of faith, a conflict between his spiritual beliefs and his aesthetic ambitions.

Along Dollymount Strand he spots a girl wading, and has an epiphany in which he is overcome with the desire to find a way to express her beauty with his writing.

While a student at UCD, Stephen grows increasingly wary of the institutions around him—Church, school, politics, and family. In the midst of the disintegration of his family’s fortunes, his father berates him and his mother urges him to return to the Church.

An increasingly dry, humourless Stephen explains his alienation from the Church and the aesthetic theory he has developed to friends, who find they cannot accept Stephen’s positions.

“I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.”

Source: http://www.thenewtheatre.com/tnt_php/scripts/page/spare1.php?gi_sn=54d8d4d2a176f|0

 

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Sat 7 March 2015. Book now!

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